Auto News for Sept. 25


Volkswagen’s board of directors is meeting today and both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal quote sources that say that the head of the Porsche division will be named CEO. Matthias Mueller would replace Martin Winterkorn who stepped down in the wake of the diesel engine emission crisis. Mueller is said to have the backing of the family that controls a majority stake in VW. There is the possibility that the board will announce the ouster of other top level managers.

A German auto magazine, Auto Bild, has clarified its statement regarding high levels of emissions from a tested BMW X3. The magazine said there are no indications of tampering by the automaker. BMW said it is seeking additional details of the testing by the International Council on Clean Transportation. BMW said it does not manipulate or rig any emissions tests and “adheres to all local testing requirements…” It added that no specific details of the test have yet been provided and “therefore we cannot explain these results.”

This morning the parent of Mercedes Benz said a defeat device that illegitimately reduces emissions during testing “has never been and will never be used at Daimler.” It said the technical programming of their engines adheres to all legal requirements and it has “no knowledge of measures that indicate our vehicles did not meet legally required standards” and it will willingly provide any vehicle for testing.

The Detroit News reports that the proposed contract between Fiat Chrysler and the United Auto workers is running into early opposition. A majority of union members voted against ratification at plants in Sterling Heights and Warren, Michigan. Yet a union official in Kokomo Indiana said a majority of salaried workers approve the proposed contract. The voting at other plants continues today.

Hyundai is recalling 470,000 Sonata sedans from model years 2011-12 that could lead to a new engine being installed. The recall covers Sonata’s with the 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter engines. It said debris may not have been removed from the crankshaft during manufacturing. This can restrict oil flow and result in engine failure. Dealers will perform an inspection and replace engine assemblies if necessary for free. Further, Hyundai will increase the engine warranty to 10 years or 120,000 miles.

September auto sales are on pace for the strongest selling rate of any month in more than a decade, according to J.D. Power thanks to strong demand over the Labor Day holiday. Light vehicle sales are projected to approach 1.2 million units, a 10.2 percent increase on a selling-day adjusted basis, and the strongest sales volume for the month since 2004. Pickups and SUV’s combined account for 57.8 percent of all new sales. That is the highest figure since July 2005.



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